CHENNAI: Compiled by lexicographers after painstaking work to take stock of the changing nature of the language, the dictionary does not stop with the author alone – it needs inputs and reviews from users, says Ramakrishnan S, a noted lexicographer from Cre-A publications.
However, their usage is restricted to the word level, since as non-native speakers of English, we need a dictionary that deals with the word and its combinations as well – lexical and grammatical, he adds.
To address the need, Ramakrishnan and Cre-A introduced the Indian English speaking population to the ‘BBI combinatory dictionary of English’ that is popular in Britain.
The dictionary not only contains meaning of any word, but also the multiple connotations in which it can be used.
He says that English speakers and writers often find themselves in a dilemma to use the correct preposition with words and this dictionary with its exhaustive list of grammatical combinations for every word will remove the confusion. A confident Ramakrishnan feels that this dictionary will find its use among people, especially students.
Talking about the waning usage of the dictionary in general and referring to the new initiative, Chitra Ashok, an English teacher, feels otherwise.
“There is no denying that this dictionary will improve the standard of English, but learning how to use it is quite a task for students. They need to be taught to actually use a normal dictionary. As for the new dictionary of combinations, there are a set of rules on its usage, but none of the children these days has the patience to go through them and such initiatives will remain forgotten,” she says.
The other regular users, however, feel that the concept of browsing through a dictionary is long gone and even if they need to know the meaning of a word, they merely Google it or refer to apps on mobile phones.
“We use mobile apps to find a meaning and for combinations, we Google them. An Oxford dictionary with a thesaurus serves the purpose and a new dictionary for combinations is redundant,” says Anirudh G, marketing manager and English enthusiast.
Sensitising the users on the importance of such a dictionary might increase the number of readers, but a disconcerted Ramakrishnan says that there are not enough resources at his disposal to launch awareness programmes.
“The entire process is time and money consuming, and labour intensive. It has no returns,” he says.